This is a popular question, especially by web newbies just starting out in their online adventure. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple. Google this phrase and you’ll get a list of search results that seem to be answers. Read on, and you’ll likely you find tons of sites offering tips on how to make money online while at the same time trying to sell you their own product. You’ll probably get ideas and suggestions on what you CAN sell online, but no one really explains what it all means.
If you are deciding what to sell online, your basic choices are:
Sell Your Own Products
If you have a good product, and especially one that can be digitalized, then the Internet is an ideal place to sell it. Not only does it give you a worldwide market, it also allows almost the entire processes to be automated. In addition, you sell 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even when you are asleep.
Sell Other People’s Products
A simpler and more popular way to earn some income online is by promoting and selling other people’s products through affiliate programs. An affiliate program is an informal contract where the owner of the product agrees to pay you for selling his product. The commission is usually a certain percentage of the sales price but can sometimes be a fixed sum.
The advantage of this is that you do not need to have your own product nor a website. In addition, after learning the ropes selling other people’s products through affiliate programs, you eventually will know enough to start selling your own products online if you want to.
Reselling is the process of buying other people’s properties and products, and then reselling them for a profit. It can be a highly profitable business. The principle is so simple that even an 8 year old can understand. For example, you may buy a brand new 50inch plasma tv on Ebay for $700 and sell it to a friend who had just moved into a new place for $1000, making a clean $300.
The possibilities are endless, limited only by your own creativity and resourcefulness.
If you have a skill, especially digital skills such as graphic/web design, programming or software production, you can provide it to anyone in the world online for a fee. Even simple skill like making a great power point presentation, or turning one into a movie or flash presentation can potentially make you money.
There are many people out there who either do not have the skills or the time to create their own, and you can help them and get paid.
Forms and Surveys
Even when you do not have any special skills, you can still make money online by filling up forms or online surveys. Many companies pay good money for information. Although you may earn only small amount for each form or survey that you filled up, the income can add up quite well when you have the numbers. Just know that you probably get a case of severe carpal tunnel syndrome, since you’ll have to complete hundreds of forms before seeing any real cash.
How to Find What Sells Online
The key to Discovering What Sells Online is to explore it from a different perspective. Here’s what you need to do:
Look at the big picture
Selling stuff online very much emulates the real world. You want your store to be at a high traffic area, such as a busy mall, with streams of passers-by. In fact, your store needs to be in a strategic location so that you’ll get noticed.
The same concept applies online. Is your product not selling because you fail to draw traffic to your website? Did you set a website in a “location” where no one visits? In the online world, generating traffic is the key to online success. The opportunity to sell something arises only when people actually visit your site. Only then would the quality of your product count.
How then can you generate traffic?
Online traffic is directed from search engines or links from other sites. To get your website linked favorably, you’ve got to have a website with high quality and relevant content. This means that you’ll need to have some knowledge in search optimization strategies, and be able to produce good content on your website.
Is your product in demand?
If no one is interested in your product, or if there is low demand for your product, then there is no point selling it. Again, the same offline principle applies here. For example, if you are selling summer clothing during winter, you would undoubtedly sell fewer quantities than if you were to sell winter clothing. Similarly, if you promote satellite dishes to consumers who already have cable and internet television, you would just be wasting your time.
How would you know if a product is in demand?
With research. I would also say by word-of-mouth, but at times, buzz may be misleading. So, I’d always fall back on research. If you are selling a tangible product, you can always check out eBay’s Marketplace research or try Google’s Keyword Search Tool, to see what people are searching for. Check out the quantities sold of specific products, and their prices. Also, check out sales statistics for the past year. Some products are only “hot” for a season, and don’t sell well thereafter. In general, two major categories with high sales volume on eBay are Consumer Electronics and Women’s Clothing.
Start Selling Online Without Spending a Dime
AdSense is an advertising program run by Google. Website owners can enroll in this program to enable text and image advertisements on their sites. These ads are administered by Google and generate revenue on a per-click basis. Google utilizes its search technology to serve ads based on website content, the user’s geographical location, and other factors. Everytime someone clicks on an ad on your site you get paid. It’s just that simple. Read more about Google Adsense
Another way to make money from your blog is with affiliate programs. Go to Affiliate networking sites such as Commission Junction or ClickBank and sign up to be an affiliate with companies that pertain to your blog. Place your affiliate links on your blog. Whenever someone clicks through from your blog and makes a purchase you get a percentage of the sale.
Collecting Money Online
As a consumer, when you check out of your local convenience store, you may swipe your credit card through a point-of-sale device and your gas, coffee, and donut are paid. But what if you are the retailer and your business is online? It’s not like you have a card-swiping device at every customer’s PC! There must be a way for you to process that information. This is the job that a payment gateway does for online retailers.
What is a Payment Gateway?
Payment gateways allow online merchants/store owners or auction sellers to accept credit card payments over the internet. They authorize the cardholder’s credit—that is, they check to ensure that the customer has enough money on their credit card to cover the charges. They then place a hold on that amount so the buyer can’t turn around and spend that same money elsewhere before it gets transferred to the retailer’s merchant account.
A Payment Gateway is NOT a Merchant Account.
Many people confuse merchant accounts with payment gateways but they are not the same. Merchant account services account, for the most part, as a liaison between your business bank account and the payment gateway. When a customer orders a product from your online business their card is processed via the payment gateway. The money is then moved over to the merchant account service. The merchant account service then moves those newly captured funds to your business bank account.
3 Tips for choosing a Payment Gateway:
1. Is it PCI-compliant? That means that the company’s security has been audited by a third party and found to be up to industry standards. Since payment gateways store all your customers’ credit card information (sparing you the stress), it also means you can sleep better at night, knowing your customers’ valuable information is safe and sound.
2. Good customer support. ‘Nuf said. If you are unsure about if the payment gateway you’re considering is good, just Google them along with the word “review”. This will give you a list of good and bad experiences from that specific payment gateway.
3. Lastly, it is important that the payment gateway you choose can be integrated to the third-party solutions you are planning to use. That means things like store front platforms (i.e. WordPress, Joomla, Ebay) and shopping carts—you want them to be compatible with your gateway.
Payment gateways will not only allow you to collect the monies from your sales, many also offer an various security features, some of which will help you avoid becoming a victim of fraudulent orders! In the end, they will make your ecommerce business a less-stressful, more pleasant experience—for both you and your customers.